Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on a one-day visit to Himachal Pradesh yesterday. Journalists coming to ‘cover’ the Prime Minister’s meeting will have to submit character certificates. The BJP government of Himachal Pradesh has issued similar guidelines for journalists in the state. The state administration backed down on the 4th due to the controversy over the issue. According to the notification, a character certificate will not be required for journalists.
Modi will inaugurate the campus of AIIMS during his visit to Himachal. He will also attend Dussehra in Kullu. The Prime Minister is scheduled to hold a public meeting in Bilaspur. Journalists are being given special security permission by the state government to attend his visit. A character certificate has been made mandatory to apply for that permit. Bilaspur district administration of Himachal published that circular on September 29. Journalists from All India Radio and Doordarshan were also not exempted.
Opposition’s protest against the notification
The notification said, ‘Journalists who want to cover the Prime Minister’s meeting, must bring a character certificate’. The District Deputy Superintendent of Police’s office, Bilaspur was asked to get the certificate from the CID office by October. The opposition has protested against this decision of the administration. According to Himachal Pradesh Congress spokesperson Naresh Chauhan, the decision directly interferes with the freedom of the press. Democracy is being ‘stifled’.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Pankaj Pandit said, “This is the first time in my 22 years of a journalistic career that I have seen such strange guidelines. This is not the first time that the Prime Minister is coming to Himachal. Requiring character certificates from journalists is defamatory and an attempt to control the movement of media.”
The government retreated as soon as criticism started at all levels. State Police DG Sanjay Kundu issued a notification on the 4th and said, ‘The notification given by the Superintendent of Police of Bilaspur district regarding the character certificate is being withdrawn.”
In a speech in Kashmir, Amit Shah claimed that ‘the valley is now calm’
Union Home Minister Amit Shah claimed yesterday that the region is no longer a haven for terrorists after the withdrawal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time, he claimed, the valley was never so calm in the past. And all this is possible due to the fight against terrorism and the Hurriyat Conference under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Union Home minister feels that the youth of the area have now picked up laptops instead of stones. Shah’s assurance in Rajouri public meeting, Gujjar, Bakarwal, and Pahari communities will get all opportunities for reservation in the coming days. This is the first time the Modi government has started the process of giving schedules based on language. Shah’s public meeting at Rajouri on the 4th was well attended. The Home Minister has repeatedly claimed that the people of the valley have benefited from Article 370 of the Constitution. A large part of his speech was devoted to how much the Valley has benefited from the loss of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.